If you have recently lost someone you love, someone that you depended on emotionally if not financially, the last thing you may want to think about is a lawsuit. You may even feel as though thinking about money, lawsuits and lawyers would be insulting to the memory of your loved one. While that is certainly an understandable emotional reaction, it may be the case that your loved one was the victim of a wrongful death. In a wrongful death case it is critical that you seek the advice of an attorney as soon as possible as there are time limits within which you must file, or give notice of your intention to file, a lawsuit.
So what exactly is a wrongful death? Wrongful death is a legal term that, in layman’s terms, means that the person died due to the intentional or negligent act of another person or entity. One typically thinks of a wrongful death case wherein a person is killed in an automobile accident or is the victim of a homicide. While this may indeed be the foundation for a wrongful death suit, there are many situations that may lead to a wrongful death case. Another example of a potential wrongful death case would be a dangerous condition that existed on public or private property such as: a poll that wasn’t properly guarded; a stairway that did not receive required repairs; or defective roadways. Defective construction of buildings or defective workmanship on private or public property may also have lead to a wrongful death. Negligent construction or repair of a product may have lead to a loved one’s death. Sadly, an unborn child may have been the victim of a wrongful death due to the negligence of a doctor or even through the intentional acts of violence on the mother.
Who can file a wrongful death suit and why would they want to go through all that? Generally speaking, relatives and domestic partners can file a suit as well as anyone that was dependant on the victim for support. People choose to proceed with wrongful death suits for two basic reasons. The first reason is that they feel that the person, persons or entity responsible for their loved one’s death should be held responsible. The second, and more pragmatic, reason is that they will now be without the support that the victim would have otherwise provided had he lived. Both reasons are important and valid reasons to consider a wrongful death suit.
If the whole idea of a lawsuit still sounds daunting and emotionally unbearable, ask yourself the following:
1. Was someone else responsible, either intentionally or negligently, for my loved one’s death?
2. Have I, (and my children if applicable), suffered emotionally and financially because of my loved one’s death?
3. Am I, and my children, going to suffer in the future without the support that my loved one provided?
4. Would my loved one want the person(s) responsible to be held accountable?
If you can answer yes to any or all of these questions, then you owe it to yourself, and to your loved one, to consult an attorney to find out whether your situation qualifies as a wrongful death case. If you would like an attorney to answer any questions you may have concerning wrongful death, call the law offices of Ledger & Associates at 1-800-300-0001 or visit us at www.ledgerlaw.com